A Brief Conversation with Marco (God Bless)
In honor of Marco’s homecoming, his grand return to the newly renovated Nagel Bagel, we decided to sit down with him for a chat. Here is a brief glimpse of the Man Behind the Counter, a small but illuminating window into life and times of a local legend.
Max Shulman: Marco, thank you for taking the time to interview for the YU Commentator. Nobody actually knows your last name so let’s start with your full name?
Marco: (answering abruptly) Marco God Bless.
MS: Okay, cool. So, we will refer to you by that. You’ve been here a while. When did you start working at YU?
MGB: I started at YU in February 1998 - so I’ve been here 17 years and a half.
MS: Wow, that’s a long time. You must have some great stories. What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you while working at Nagel’s?
MGB: Two MTA students came and it was a Purim. That’s like Halloween right?
MGB: They came and held up the store. I opened the register for them but I only had a quarter so they ran the heck out of the store. That’s gotta be the funniest thing that has happened to me here.
MS: That’s pretty funny. How about the craziest day on the job?
MGB: That’s a tough question, man, I don’t remember. Oh I got one. One day in the kitchen. I’m like ‘Oh my god, what’s that?!’ It’s a raccooooon. So here comes my supervisor. He puts on a helmet, go gets a bat, runs toward the thing. The thing is cornered. He’s like “I’m gonna tackle you.” He went like this with a broom (makes of motion of sweeping it into a bag). Caught him like this (demonstrates holding a raccoon by its tail). And that was it. It was a done deal. It was greaaat.
MS: Yeah I’m sure that’s not going to make students want to eat in the cafeteria. What’s your favorite part of working at YU?
MGB: Students’ smiles and their goodness.
MS: Nice. Switching focuses here, rumor has it that you ran four hundred miles this summer. Is that true?
MGB: Just about, man. I have it here on my phone. Even today I did five walking here and five running back. I’m not gonna jog it in the morning because I don’t want to come in too sweaty.
MS: Wow that’s a lot. Any marathons?
MGB: Haven’t done marathons. I’ve done 5Ks 10Ks but I want to train for a marathon.
MS: So you are commuting five miles. Tell us where you live.
MGB: I live in Mosholu Parkway in the Bronx.
MS: Did you grow up there?
MGB: No, I’m from Queens -- Flushing. I’m a Cuban descendant. Came when I was three. Greatest thing that ever happened was coming to America. Gave me opportunity in life, so thank God.
MS: You are always studying for something...
MGB: I’m studying to become a nurse. Right now I’m in my second-to-last class. I have to take something called the TEAS test. And then I go into my nursing program.
MS: So are you ditching YU?
MGB: After I become a nurse, yeah.
MS: Will you visit?
MGB: Oh absolutely. One thing about YU -- once you come here, you really really never leave after so many years. Yeah, I ain’t going nowhere.
MS: So Nagels just opened up recently...
MGB: Re-opened re-opened.
MS: Right, re-opened. What do you think of it now?
MGB: It’s very nice for you. It has more space, more variety of foods. Now you have Chop Chop and sushi and it’s spacious and it’s there for you and I think it’s convenient for you. It came out nice.
MS: Do you think they should have renamed it Marco Bagels?
MGB: (laughing) Oh god bless no. I don’t donate 150 million dollars. Noooo. God bless.
MS: Who’s your favorite student?
MGB: Besides yourself. I try not to say “favorite” because we are all one here. I may have more familiarities with others but I really try to treat everyone the same. I may have more of a personal connection with them but being fair to all I want to be fair to all. We are all special people.
MS: That’s fair. And finally, everyone here knows you are a big NBA fan. Favorite NBA player? And who’s winning the championship this year?
MGB: Favorite player is Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. I am a Knicks fan but Spurs.
MS: Not warriors?
MGB: No, basketball is a big man’s game. Curry is good, but Spurs have 4 big mans. I’m going with the Spurs.
MS: Thanks again, Marco.
MGB: God Bless.